Top 5 Female Mathematicians Of India Till 2023

Top 5 Female Mathematicians Of India Till 2023

Vidya Balan's iconic portrayal of Shakuntala Devi, India's most celebrated female mathematician, shifted the perception that women can't excel in mathematics. While I don't intend to diminish the accomplishments of notable male mathematicians like Aryabhatta and Ramanujan, the general idea that mathematics is a subject exclusive to men is something that needs to be challenged.

Despite there being numerous female mathematicians in the 20th century, many more continue to join the list. This article is a tribute to all the exceptional female mathematicians of India, who have written papers, discovered formulas and researched in the field of mathematics.

1. Shakuntala Devi

Shakuntala Devi

Shakuntala Devi, born in 1929, was India's first female mathematician and was famously called the 'human computer' for her ability to complete difficult calculations faster than a computer. In 1980, she was recorded in the 1982 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records for being able to calculate the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in just 50 seconds and multiplying two 13-digit numbers in 28 seconds. She wrote several books on maths as well as astrology, crime fiction, politics, and LGBTQ rights. At the age of 83, in 2013, she passed away due to a long-term illness, yet her legacy still lives on.

2. Raman Parimala

Raman Parimala, born in 1948, was raised in a progressive family. She has been passionate about mathematics since her early school days and decided to pursue a career in the field. Despite the common notion that women should only pursue teaching or medicine as a profession, her father supported her ambition. Nowadays, she is renowned for her expertise in algebra, which she has further developed through her research and contributions. Her most remarkable accomplishment was publishing the first non-trivial quadratic space over an affine plane. She has gained a lot of respect and recognition for her work in the field of algebra.

Parimala is a Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (New Delhi), Indian Academy of Science (Bangalore), and the National Academy of Sciences (Allahabad). In 1987, she was awarded the highest science accolade in India, the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize. In 2020, the Ministry of Women and Child Development selected her name among 11 women in the sciences to give her a Chair in her honour. Parimala commented that mathematics has the beauty of poetry and its abstractions are combined with exact rigor. She also takes pleasure in teaching and urges her students, especially women, to pursue a career in maths.

3. Dr Mangla Narlikar

During her college years, Dr. Narlikar often heard the statement that Mathematics is a predominantly male-driven field, with girls being deemed bad at math or calculations. Refusing to accept this as truth, she excelled in all of her Mathematics exams for both her BA and MA, and was known as a mathematical genius. After her Masters, she got married to a scientist and moved to Cambridge, where her in-laws and husband supported her career. Despite this, she devoted her time to household tasks and looking after her three children. Nonetheless, she still found ways to pursue her PhD in Mathematics and later, she began teaching Mathematics at a variety of colleges. She lectured at the University of Bombay and Pune, among other places.

At the same time, she wrote on various mathematical topics such as the Theory of Sieved Integers, the Mean Square Value theorem of Hurwitz Zeta Function, the Hybrid Mean Value Theorem of L-Functions, and so on. She was an expert in pure mathematics and her research focused on simplifying complicated mathematical problems. Her expertise landed her a job at an NGO, where she taught mathematics to girls living in poverty. She also authored many books on mathematics and was later appointed as the Chairman of Balbharti. According to her, "Mathematics is a wonderful teacher of universal ethics and principles."

4. Sujatha Ramdorai

In 2006, Sujatha Ramdorai became the first and only Indian to be awarded the ICTP Ramanujan Prize. Additionally, in 2004 she was the recipient of the Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Award. Currently, she is a professor of mathematics at the School of Mathematics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Furthermore, she is a part of the Scientific Committee of various international research centers including the Indo-French Centre for Promotion of Advanced Research, Banff International Research Station and International Centre for Pure and Applied Mathematics. Furthermore, she is also a member of the National Knowledge Commission.

Ramdorai has been involved in topics like algebraic theory of quadratic forms, arithmetic geometry of elliptic curves, motives and noncommutative Iwasawa theory. She expressed in an interview that a scientific career can be more advantageous for women who are striving to manage both family and career. She believes that if scientific policies were made more mindful of women's issues, women could have more access to new and exciting discoveries in science. To her, mathematics is an area where excellence can be attained with comprehension.

5. Dr Neena Gupta

Neena Gupta, an Associate Professor at the Theoretical Statistics and Mathematics Unit of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in Kolkata, is the youngest mathematician to receive the prestigious Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar award in 2019 for her research in affine algebraic geometry and the Zariski Cancellation Problem. In 2014, she published her first research paper on the maths puzzle and was soon awarded the Indian National Science Academy–Young Scientist Award. Commutative Algebra and Affine Algebraic Geometry are her main focuses, and when asked about awards, Dr Gupta conveyed that the pleasure she gets from solving mathematical problems surpasses any award.




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